Full Text

Lacan, Jacques (1901–1981)

Christine A. Monnier

Subject Philosophy
Sociological and Social Theory » Postmodern Theory

Place Western Europe » France

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics poststructuralism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Jacques Marie Emile Lacan received his medical degree in psychiatry in 1932 based on a doctoral dissertation analyzing a famous case of paranoid psychosis. This work marked the beginning of a clinical and theoretical career in psychoanalysis that would span over 50 years and make him one of the major, and most controversial, figures of the post-World War II French intellectual milieu. Lacan defined his approach as a “return to Freud.” By this, he did not simply mean the establishment of a literal Freudian orthodoxy, but the rediscovery of Freud's most controversial and subversive insights. He also succeeded in underlining the importance of Freud, beyond the field of psychoanalysis, to other human and social sciences. It is therefore not surprising that his conceptual developments integrated insights from the arts (Surrealism), philosophy (Spinoza, Hegel, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty), linguistics (Saussure, Jakobson), anthropology (especially in the structuralist anthropology initiated by Lévi-Strauss), and mathematics. Such a wide range points to two major difficulties in studying Lacan: first, he constantly redefined his concepts to integrate insights from other fields; second, this integration made Lacan notorious for his deliberately “unreadable” style. One of the major controversial insights that Lacan retrieved from Freud is the radical deconstruction of the classical Cartesian ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top